In the past decade, the genre of superhero films has experienced a boom as film makers strive to get their hands on every single possible fictional action hero and translate them into celluloid. Consider this: Since 1936 – 2000 (period of 64 years) there have been an estimated 55 superhero films made in America, whilst over the period of 2001- 2012 (period of 11 years), there have been around 53 films that feature action heroes. These simple number show the basic inclination towards this genre – the reason for which is unclear – is it entertainment, education or just simple distraction?
There are a number of theories out there that explain the sudden rise of superhero films in the past decade. One of these theories is that in the post 9/11 world, people want something different to believe in, to restore their faith in humanity and to see the light after the dark. Other reasons for this genre of films is to distract people from the war crisis happening everywhere in the world – where soldiers are sent abroad for months into countries where they are supposedly restoring peace with guns and weapons.
Whatever the reason maybe for these films, the amplified success of superhero movies is evidence that people do want something else to believe in, a better explanation and faith in the unknown. Keeping in line with this, the majority of superhero movies have a deeper message – almost like a lesson that they wish to pass on to audiences.
Here are my favorite superhero films and the main message that they deliver to passive audiences:
#1 X-Men First Class
Set in the aftermath of World War II and capturing the lives of several mutants, X-Men First Class is a glimpse at the start of how the X-Men group was formed. The film shows the classic betrayal of one of your own, portraying the hurt and surprise when a soldier of your own has their own selfish agenda. Message of this film was perseverance and faith in your own strength, as none of the mutants believed in their abilities.
#2 The Avengers
A bunch of special forces individuals form a team in order to fight the bigger evil? Rings a bell – The Avengers has a similar concept to X-Men, however the purpose of this film wasn’t to reiterate the confidence in your abilities. When the superheroes are put together to fight a joint enemy, they all have trust in their own abilities and not each others – thus leading to disaster. The main message in this movie was the principle of effective team work, trust and reliability.
#3 Iron Man
This is one of the few individual superhero films that actually carries an important message. During the films, (1, 2 and The Avengers), we see the character of Tony Stark being selfish, over-confident as well as humorous. Despite the personality of Iron Man, the films portray how a man who is selfish and engaged in the weapon industry takes his keen mind to focus on improving the world and doing good by everyone. The Iron Man films restore the faith of doing things right and improving yourself for the greater good.